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Motion Control Guide News For December 2013

Baumer Introduces U500 Photoelecric and Ultrasonic Proximity Sensors

Posted: December 23, 2013

Baumer releases U500 photoelectric and ultrasonic sensors, which are identical in design and size with their series O500 electronic counterparts.The sensors can be exchanged quickly and easily without any additional conversion measures.

While the photoelectric sensors are for applications with very small objects and high speed, the ultrasonic sensors detect almost every object. They do not depend on color, characteristics or transparency, even under harsh conditions with large amounts of dirt.

The U500 has a range of 1000 mm, with a narrow, symmetrical sonic beam. It has a diameter of only 80 mm at an object distance of 500 mm. This allows the U500 to be used in applications with very cramped spaces.

The robust housing (IP67) makes it unaffected by dirt, water droplets or even cleaning agents. U500 is available in three sensor principles: As a proximity switch, distance measuring sensor and reflective light barrier.

ServoMex Consolidates Business in Houston

Posted: December 23, 2013

Servomex relocated its Americas business headquarters to a new, custom-built facility in Houston. This is a significant investment driven by an increase in demand for Servomex’s systems integration products and after sales service and support.

Martin Cox, General Manager for Servomex Americas, said: “The move represents a substantial investment in our future within the region and is the first stage of our Americas business growth strategy. The new facility is wholly equipped to undertake the very largest systems integration projects, bringing our world-class consultation, design, products and assembly for safety critical integration to an even broader customer base. The facility also includes a brand new on-site service center that will further enhance customer after sales support experience. It is the evolution of the business philosophy of Servomex in Houston.”

In addition to an impressive 14,000 sq. ft. state-of-the-art workshop facility and warehousing space, the new headquarters includes 10,000 sq. ft. of office space, centralizing the entire business process from engineering, sales and marketing, through to customer service, training and delivery. The result is extensive internal collaboration throughout the business, generating significant process efficiency improvements, critical as the business continues to expand.

Customers, channel partners and staff are already benefitting at every level. In particular, the introduction of a single distribution center has focused on reducing delivery times and the introduction of a centralized, sophisticated communications system ensures internal collaboration with Servomex counterparts worldwide in order for customers to benefit from the company’s vast global expertise. Meanwhile, brand new integrated training facilities and conference areas enhance the training experience.

Cox adds: “We are extremely proud to be able to offer class leading expertise in the design, manufacture and delivery of the most reliable and accurate systems integration projects. Working with our sales and technical teams, customer’s needs are assessed on a ‘whole life system’ basis that spans the initial assessment through to installation, commissioning and an on-going programme of maintenance and support, an approach which is unrivalled.”

Servomex Group Ltd
An acknowledged innovator in gas analysis technologies for more than 60 years, Servomex is the originator of and world leader in paramagnetic sensing technology and has an exceptional reputation in the development of zirconia, photometric and thick film technologies. The result is high-performance, cost-effective gas analysis, delivered through a portfolio of dependable products ranging from portable gas analyzers to complex process solutions.

Drives and Motors Market Up In European Oil and Gas Inudstry

Posted: December 19, 2013

The growing demand for customised systems for critical oil and gas applications is brightening the prospects of the European power conversion market in the oil and gas industry. Escalating energy costs, exploration of new oil and gas fields also fuel the uptake of power conversion solutions in the region.

Frost & Sullivan finds that the market earned revenues of $908.7 million in 2012 and estimates this to reach $1,151.9 million in 2017. The research covers electric drives and electric motors, with the latter cornering 78.9 percent of the market share. However, electric drives have the higher growth rates due to their high-tech, energy-saving functions and ability to decrease downtime costs through control and efficient rotating assets. They have also demonstrated an ability to reduce the costs of upstream, midstream and downstream activities.

“Oil and gas plants in Europe are increasingly adopting energy-efficient electric drives and motors to cut down on energy consumption, optimize performance, improve productivity, and boost profits,” said Frost & Sullivan Industrial Automation & Process Control Research Analyst Maryna Osipova. “In particular, alternating current electric drives and motors are widely employed, even in intelligent control solutions, as they perform well under rough conditions.”

However, uptake will be affected by price pressures in the market. Since electric drives and motors from most power conversion product vendors have more or less the same characteristics and functions, oil and gas companies opt for the most cost-effective option. Suppliers are responding to this trend by reducing prices to remain competitive, thus lowering market revenues.

In addition, the lack of financial resources due to the recent economic slowdown has compelled oil and gas companies in Europe to temporarily shelve some projects, shrinking the potential demand for power conversion systems.

“To overcome these challenges, power conversion product manufacturers should forge solid relationships with oil and gas companies to ensure product customisation as well as flexibility in the purchasing process,” advised Osipova. “A wide geographical presence, strong brand image, and well-designed customer service strategy too will be crucial to catalyse the growth of the European power conversion market in the oil and gas industry.”

About Frost & Sullivan
Frost & Sullivan, the Growth Partnership Company, works in collaboration with clients to leverage visionary innovation that addresses the global challenges and related growth opportunities that will make or break today's market participants. For more than 50 years, we have been developing growth strategies for the global 1000, emerging businesses, the public sector and the investment community. Is your organization prepared for the next profound wave of industry convergence, disruptive technologies, increasing competitive intensity, Mega Trends, breakthrough best practices, changing customer dynamics and emerging economies?

Moxa Introduces Two-Profibus-To-Fiber Converters

Posted: December 19, 2013

Moxa introduced two PROFIBUS-to-fiber converters that transparently bridge PROFIBUS to optical fiber, providing total isolation, protection against EMI/RFI interference, and freedom from equipment grounding problems.

Equally important, the two converters help extend connections up to 2.5 miles on multi-mode fiber or up to 25 miles on single-mode fiber at data rates up to 12 Mbps -- well beyond the speed and distance limitations of traditional twisted pair copper installations. An integrated Remote Fiber Diagnosis function eliminates the need for specialized test equipment and significantly shortens troubleshooting time in expansive installations by allowing one person to examine fiber connections for the overall topology from any individual converter.

The Moxa ICF-1280I has dual ports to build a redundant fiber ring with zero recovery time, while the Moxa ICF-1180I is a single port converter. Both models feature 2 KV isolation protection and dual power inputs to ensure that PROFIBUS devices perform uninterrupted. To avoid configuration errors and minimize manual configuration efforts of baudrate settings, both also incorporate auto baudrate detection. This feature enables fast, error-free configuration of the converters and significantly reduces system deployment time.

To prevent a single bus failure from affecting the entire PROFIBUS network, the converters feature a Bus Fail Safe that detects and recognizes noise signals. If the bus fails on one side, the noise signal will not propagate through the converter and affect additional bus segments. Also, the converter will automatically trigger an alarm notification to the field engineer on the location of the failure, allowing them to quickly locate the failed device.

Moxa is a leading manufacturer of industrial networking, computing, and automation solutions. With over 25 years of industry experience, Moxa has connected more than 30 million devices worldwide and has a distribution and service network that reaches customers in more than 70 countries. Moxa delivers lasting business value by empowering industry with reliable networks and sincere service for automation systems.

The Future of Automation is Solving the World's Greatest Challenges

Posted: December 16, 2013

the Future of Automation
Dr. Peter Martin, Invensys Vice President, gave a passionate keynote by combining the elements of engineering, business, and evangelism at the ISA Automation Week 2013 conference in Nashville. Martin’s talk focused on ‘The Future of Automation’ and how automation can solve the world’s biggest challenges.

Martin is an ISA Fellow, prominent automation industry expert and was named one of Fortune magazine’s “Hero of U.S. Manufacturing” in 2002. Martin holds multiple patents including patents for real-time activity-based costing, closed-loop business control, and asset and resource modeling. In 2009, he accepted the ISA Life Achievement Award which recognized his work in integrating financial and production measures that improve the profitability and performance of industrial process plants. He has a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in mathematics, a master’s degree in administration and management and a doctorate’s in both industrial engineering and biblical studies.

Martin started by explaining that he spends a lot of time looking into the future of automation. The roots of his presentation were based on his work with the Automation Federation and talking with the National Career Development Association about encouraging young people to consider careers in automation. Martin asked himself, “If I were young person, why would I consider a career in automation?” He discussed his own experiences in college during the 1960s and 1970s when a career in manufacturing and automation was natural. Today, when he talks to kids they don’t see the excitement and value in automation. He believes automation is the most important profession in the world and it is time to stand up and take credit for what automation has accomplished and what it can do in the future. Martin suggested taking on the great challenges in the world, highlighting world hunger. He framed this by making a list of what the world needs to achieve this goal and thrive:

Energy - mining, production, distribution
Water - fresh water, wastewater, desalinization, distribution
Food - fertilizer, harvest, process, store, transport
Material goods - manufacturing, transport
Chemicals - mining, processing, recovering, transport
Minerals - mining, processing, recovering, transport
Health - drug manufacturer, clean water, clean air
Environment - sustainability, reduced emissions
Martin made the point that automation can be used to apply technology to improve outcomes in all these areas. Martin commented on specific items in the list such as water noting over half a million babies a year die because of tainted water. “That is inexcusable,” he said. By applying automation technology using energy, we can create freshwater with desalinization. In turn, by using water, fertilizer, and other technology, food can be produced anywhere. One example is how Israel is made up of arid lands that are now used to produce food. Another example is how the application of automation technology enables 30 year old refineries to operate with 10% of the carbon emissions as compared to 30 years ago.

Big Data

Martin cited a quote by Eric Schmidt, CEO Google, “Every day we create as much information as we did from the dawn of civilization to 2003”. We seem to think if we store information away, we solve the problem. Albert Einstein however stated, “Information is not knowledge,” and therein is the opportunity. There is a wealth of information stored away that we have not analyzed to figure out how to solve the big problems of industry. We have the technology today to data mine the information and put it into action with automation to make improvements. The job of automation is putting knowledge to work for industry.

Solution Orientation

Martin discussed that when he entered the industry, it was solutions oriented; and now it seems to be technology oriented. We need to move back to the solutions-oriented point of view. He asserts that a change in perspective is required. We deliver more business value than any other contributor in industry. Martin challenged the audience to prove it with action and then he emphasized the need to communicate the value being created to management. This will elevate the understanding and profession of automation that creates wealth in safe and environmentally sound ways.

Martin believes the future of our profession is as bright as ever if we all work together to put knowledge to work and drive the great problems of the
world out of existence.

Technosoft Releases IPOS8010 BX-CAT Drive

Posted: December 16, 2013

Technosoft releases iPOS8010 BX-CAT drive. With a capability of 10 A continuous and 20 A peak current at up to 80 V, the iPOS8010 BX-CAT controller offers a compact, cost-effective universal solution for the control of rotary or linear brushless, DC brush, and step motors of powers up to 800 W and voltages up to 80 V.

Based on the MotionChip technology, iPOS8010 BX-CAT can operate either as a standard EtherCAT drive that accepts the CAN application protocol over EtherCAT (CoE), or as an intelligent drive that can be programmed to execute complex motion profiles directly at drive level, using its built-in motion controller as well as the high-level Technosoft Motion Language (TML).

Equipped with:

2 Safe Torque Off inputs (STO), Cat. 3 (EN954-1), SIL3 (IEC61508, IEC62061), PLe (EN/ISO 13849-1)
2 feedback devices (dual-loop support)
• 2 analog inputs, 8 digital inputs and 5 digital outputs.
The iPOS8010 BX-CAT drive can work with EtherCAT communication cycles down to 200 μs for all working configurations: open loop micro-stepping or closed loop control of 2 or 3-phase steppers, DC brushed motor control, sinusoidal (FOC) or trapezoidal (Hall based) control of brushless motors. Its configuration, tuning and local programming can easily be done using Technosoft’s graphical platform, EasyMotion Studio.

IPOS8010 BX-CAT has been developed for the many 1 HP requirements in medical analysis and dosing machines, pick-and-place and welding robots, packaging, bottling and labelling machines, industrial equipment, food and textile machines and material handling equipment.


December 13, 2013
Trio Motion introduces MC4N-Mini EtherCAT Motion Coordinator for motion and machine controllers.
The EtherCAT dedicated controller can handle up to 32 axes of servo or stepper drives and 1024 machine I/O points. The MC4N-ECAT’s built-in expandable library of the EtherCAT digital drives and I/O modules allow systems to be automatically detected and configured in a plug and play way that is not usually available for this open and increasingly popular protocol.

Featuring an updated configuration of the 532MHz ARM 11 processor, the ultra-fast MC4N-ECAT includes 64-bit integer position registers for extremely high resolution and precision accuracy - making it ideal for high axis count tightly coordinated machines or robotic applications.

MC4N-ECAT supports multi-axis motion control through linear, circular, helical or spherical interpolation in addition to electronic cams, linked axes, line shaft, gearing functions and more. EtherCAT slave drives and I/O can be connected and run in cyclic synchronous position, speed or torque modes provided these are supported by the drive. Furthermore, optional software modules allow the powerful motion engine to control multiple robotic and kinematic transformations to run simultaneously, enabling the simplified programming of otherwise complex robotic motion systems including Parallel 2-Arm, Delta 3-Arm, Wire Positioning, 6 Axis Anthropomorphic and SCARA geometries.

Programming the MC4N-ECAT is straightforward and in essence identical to using traditional analogue axes with the additional benefits of being able to set up drives and process alarms over the EtherCAT bus. The built-in Ethernet port allows programming and connection of common PLC and HMI protocols, including the new Trio Uniplay HMI, directly to the MC4N-ECAT. Programs can be written in Trio’s multi-tasking TrioBASIC language using the Motion Perfect v3 application development software, or users may choose the optional industry standard IEC 61131-3 languages to allow a fully functional PLC programming system.

Versions of the MC4N-ECAT are available for 2, 4, 8, 16 and 32 motor axes. All versions feature 32 software axes which may be used as virtual axes to simplify machine programming and synchronisation. The controller has a built-in “Flexible Axis Port” for direct connection of absolute or incremental encoders, stepper motors and laser controls; also built-in is a CAN port, RS232, RS485 and 16 channels of 24v I/O.

In addition to the EtherCAT bus the MC4N-ECAT has a factory communication Ethernet port with built-in support for Ethernet-IP, Modbus TCP, Trio Active-X, UDP and TCP-IP. A full size SD card slot provides a high capacity storage location for machine data and auxiliary files whilst an easy to read backlit display gives information about the I/O status, IP address and EtherCAT bus status.

The MC4N-ECAT has been designed to be mounted alongside compact EtherCAT servo drives. The case features a cast metal backplate for effective earthing and to ensure high noise rejection in the industrial environment.


December 13, 2013
In 2012, strong medium voltage (MV) motor drive sales growth in North America offset weaker sales in China, which resulted in global MV Drive sales growing by 6% to $2.6 billion. In the latest IHS medium voltage motor drive study, MV drive sales are predicted to increase by 8% in 2013, with widely diverging growth rates by region.

In North America, an unconventional energy revolution for shale gas and oil has led to stronger MV drive sales in the American oil & gas industry. IHS predicts that MV drive sales growth in the Americas will remain above 14.5% in 2013 and 9.5% in 2014.The outlook for the American MV drives market is highly dependent on how the oil & gas industry performs. In 2012, IHS estimates that over 35% of American MV drive sales went into the oil & gas industry. The forecast for MV drive sales into the oil & gas industry is complex because MV drive sales into upstream, midstream, and downstream applications are predicted to diverge from 2013 to 2017. In the midstream oil & gas segment, MV drives are used for compressors and pumps for pipeline transportation of oil & gas. MV drive sales growth is predicted to slow in 2014, primarily as an accelerated build out has slowed as North American governments come to an agreement on the future of LNG exports and further pipeline expansion across the United States.

In Asia Pacific, China made up two-thirds of the MV drives market by revenue in 2012 while the Rest of Asia made up about one-third. Each region exhibited widely diverging MV drive sales growth in 2012. In China, overcapacity in metals, cement, and shipbuilding resulted in weaker MV drive sales in 2012, while in the Rest of Asia MV drive sales grew rapidly in 2012, led by sales of MV drives in Southeast Asia excluding Australia.

In 2014, MV drive sales growth is predicted to increase in China as a different set of industries begin to demand MV drives, while in the Americas a resurgent Latin America and continued strength in the United States and Canada is predicted to result in the Americas growing fastest globally in 2014. “A seismic shift in MV drive demand by industry over the next five years is leading to a very different MV drives market. In this challenging economic environment, it is more important than ever to understand what is driving these changes,” says IHS Analyst Rolando Campos.

Silicon Laboratories introduces a new wireless microcontrollers

Posted: 12/12/2013
Silicon Labs announced that it has expanded its family of 8-bit Si10xx wireless microcontrollers (MCUs) with two new options optimized for both cost-sensitive and performance-intensive designs. By combining its ultra-low-power MCU technology with its sub-GHz EZRadio and EZRadioPRO transceivers in a single-chip solution, Silicon Labs has created new energy-friendly wireless MCUs that achieve industry-leading RF performance with the lowest overall power consumption in their class. Supporting worldwide frequency bands from 142 to 1050 MHz with low-power sleep and active modes for extended battery life, the Si106x and Si108x wireless MCUs address the low energy and RF connectivity requirements of home automation, security and access control, sensor networks, asset tracking and long-range control applications for the Internet of Things.

The highest performance and smallest wireless MCU solutions on the market, the Si106x and Si108x devices integrate an energy-efficient 8051 MCU and a sub-GHz RF transceiver into a 5 mm x 6 mm QFN package. This compact footprint makes the Si106x/8x wireless MCUs an ideal fit for space-constrained applications that require wireless connectivity as well as ultra-low power for long battery life. The exceptional single-chip integration and small package help reduce system cost, design complexity, board size and component count. The devices also feature a priority crossbar decoder that gives designers complete control over a variety of functions including a 10-bit analog-to-digital converter, dual comparators, four 16-bit timers as well as UART, SPI and 12C serial interfaces. This flexible crossbar configurability eliminates the tradeoffs that often must be made with small packages.

Si106x/8x wireless MCUs based on the EZRadio transceiver provide a cost-effective, high-value solution for the majority of embedded wireless designs. Other more demanding connected device applications can benefit from the higher wireless performance offered by the Si106x/8x devices containing the EZRadioPRO transceiver, which offers greater sensitivity (-126 dBm) and higher output power (+20 dBm) for longer-range applications. The EZRadioPRO transceiver’s resulting 146 dB link budget maximizes wireless range, and its 60 dB adjacent channel selectivity with 12.5 kHz channel spacing ensures robust operation in harsh RF conditions. The EZRadioPRO transceiver is designed to comply with the industry’s most stringent wireless standards including FCC, ETSI and ARIB, while offering frequency coverage in all major bands up to 1050 MHz and supporting data rates from 100 bps to 1 Mbps.

The Si106x/8x family is the most energy-efficient sub-GHz wireless MCU offering available. Both wireless MCU family options feature ultra-low power consumption when the radio is active, 18 mA when transmitting at +10 dBm and 10.7 mA in low-power receive mode. Low power modes enable dramatically reduced power consumption when the radio is idle or off: 30 nA shutdown, 50 nA standby and 600 nA in sleep mode. Built-in dc-dc boost support allows operation down to 0.9 V for single-cell battery operation, which reduces system cost while extending the life of battery-powered products.

The Si106x/8x wireless MCU family supports a range of device configurations including a choice of cost-effective EZRadio and high-performance EZRadioPRO transceivers, flash memory scaling from 8 to 64 kB, and 768 bytes to 4 kB of RAM. Additionally, wireless MCU devices are available with +13 dBm or +20 dBm maximum output power.

Pricing and availability

Samples and production quantities of the Si106x/8x wireless MCUs are available now in a 36-pin 5 mm x 6 mm QFN package. Si106x/8x product pricing starts at $2.25 (USD) in 10,000-unit quantities. Six wireless MCU development kits, spanning the 434 to 915 MHz frequency range, are available now for $299 each (USD MSRP). For additional Si106x/8x product information and to purchase samples and development tools, visit
Silicon Labs Microcontrollers

ADVANCED Motion Controls® will be Exhibiting at the SPS IPC Drives Show in Germany in November

(posted 12/12/2013)

ADVANCED Motion Controls will be exhibiting at the SPS IPC Drives show in Germany from November 26-28, 2013. At the show we will be introducing 4 new motion control demonstrations with three of them showcasing our Click&Move® soft motion and automation software, and the fourth demonstrating how DigiFlex® Performance™ servo drives can achieve complex coordination using simple indexes and sequences.

If in attendance, please visit us to discuss your technical questions, new projects, strategic partnership possibilities or just catch up on our latest offerings.

Our booth will be well staffed with the following people:

European office
• Sandor Barta - Owner/President
• Attila Herczegfalvy - Chief Sales Engineer and VP of Sales, Europe

US office
• Karl Meier - Executive Team Business Development
• David Gelfuso - Executive Team Sales Manager
• Rene Ymzon - Marketing
• Susan Meier - Customer Service

Contact Us to make an appointment or stop by our booth in Hall 1, Stand 1-650.

About DigiFlex® Performance™
DigiFlex® Performance™ is a family of high performance digital servo drives compatible with "any controller, any motor and any feedback." The combination of a DigiFlex Performance servo drive with the DriveWare software establishes a new benchmark in versatility providing full tuning control of Position, Velocity and Torque loops, real-time oscilloscope with up to 8 channels to ensure that tuning achieves the highest performance, status window with over 50 simultaneous channels for drive and system diagnostics, universal servo motor compatibility by means of automatic commutation adjustment and much more.

About Click&Move®
Click&Move® is a soft motion and automation solution that uses graphical function blocks as the programming method. Function block programming allows non-programmers to fully develop motion control and automation programs in an easy to learn graphical environment. Click&Move® comes with a graphical HMI that handles user input and displays the machine operation on screen. Developers create and edit HMIs to interface with motion programs. Compiled Click&Move® programs can run on Windows based PC’s, Motion Automation Control Cards(MACC), or on embedded ADVANCED Motion Controls servo drives.

About ADVANCED Motion Controls
ADVANCED Motion Controls, a U.S. company in business for 25 years now, was founded with the idea of designing and manufacturing lower cost / higher power density servo drives. The company's focus remains to create and deliver the best motion control drives for brushed or brushless servo motors. With over 2 million axes shipped, ADVANCED Motion Controls has become one of the fastest growing servo drive companies in the world!

With ADVANCED Motion Controls ... Everything's possible.

For more information, contact Rene Ymzon, Marketing, ADVANCED Motion Controls at (805) 389-1935 or visit our web site at

National Instruments Named Among the World’s Top 10 Best Multinational Workplaces

Posted: December 09, 2013
For the third consecutive year, the Great Place to Work® Institute has ranked National Instruments among the top 25 multinational companies to work for in the world. This year’s “World’s Best Multinational Workplaces” list ranks NI at number nine. This honor is a testament to NI’s commitment to creating exceptional workplaces worldwide. “NI’s long-term management approach, known as the 100-year plan, recognizes that our employee contributions directly impact our key stakeholders’ success and are critical to NI’s overall growth, creating a great work environment and developing rewarding careers for our employees,” said Dr. James Truchard, CEO, president and cofounder of National Instruments. FORTUNE has named NI among the nation’s “100 Best Companies to Work For” for the past 14 years and the Great Place to Work Institute has recognized NI branches including China, Costa Rica, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Mexico and the U.K. NI employees make products that accelerate productivity, innovation and discovery for engineers and scientists solving the world’s grand challenges. Because of NI employees’ work building the tools of scientific discovery, customers are working to break the world land speed record, monitor smart grids more efficiently and launch rockets into space. “Our employees are our greatest competitive differentiator,” said Mark Finger, vice president of human resources at National Instruments. “Repeatedly receiving this type of recognition both globally and nationally reinforces our commitment to creating meaningful jobs and careers for our employees. ”As NI has grown to over 7,000 employees in almost 50 countries, the company’s culture has spread beyond Austin headquarters to each oof the branch offices. NI invests in its people and is committed to being a stable employer despite trying economic times.
Nation Instruments

Molex & University of Illinois Support Etho Team in China Solar Decathlon 2013
(December 6, 2013)

Etho passive solar home design features geo-thermal mechanical system, solar PV arrays, Molex VLM lighting and a home automation system that monitors net-zero achievements developed by UIUC

Molex Incorporated and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, IL (UIUC) partnered to support the Etho Team in the China Solar Decathlon 2013, August 2-13, Datong, China.

The Solar Decathlon is a prestigious biennial competition that challenges intercollegiate teams from around the world to design and build energy efficient, fully solar powered homes. Twenty-one teams worldwide competed in China’s first Solar Decathlon, which was hosted by the U.S. Department of Energy and National Energy Administration of China, and organized by UIUC’s partner Peking University (PKU), Beijing, China.

“Sustainable and efficient homes are quickly becoming a necessity for many in China and the U.S., and technologies including Etho’s photovoltaic (PV) array, LED lighting, and super insulated envelope are allowing for net-zero living to become an achievable reality,” states Kevin Donovan, project manager, UIUC.

A collaboration between UIUC and PKU, the Etho team’s 1,050 square foot passive solar powered design served as the showcase home for the entire event. This home was to set the standard from which other teams could be compared due to the experience and success that UIUC has experienced in past U.S. Solar Decathlon competitions. Other homes in the competition were judged on ten categories, including architecture, engineering, solar application and energy balance. Almost 200,000 visitors attended the public exhibition.

Blending tradition and technology, the Etho home promotes ‘green’ living and provides a peaceful urban oasis. Constructed entirely of thick structural insulated panels, the home features direct southern orientation, optimized glazing areas and overhangs, PV skylights, triple glazed German windows with integrated motorized shading, and natural courtyards. The Etho team leveraged Molex’s industry-leading interconnect and lighting expertise to design the home’s LED lighting system. Molex specified custom and standard Versatile Light Module (VLM) fixtures and ceiling rails throughout the home.

An innovative approach to lighting, the VLM system provided a solderless connection to the LED array, without requiring conventional sockets or cables. While many traditional LED lighting fixtures require large heat sinks, the VLM system utilizes magnetic LED pucks that snap on a rail, which serves as the heat sink. The LED pucks can be easily removed and placed on any rail or fixture in the home. Pucks are extremely versatile and available in a wide range of color, beam angle, and intensity. The lighting system had multi-functional control by either wireless dimmable light switches or the home’s automation system that was accessible via cell phone, computer, or iPad. The ability to customize the lighting in the home was one of the most successful and attractive features to visitors.

“As a company we recognize the important role technology plays in sustainable design,” states Victor Zaderej, advanced engineering manager of SSL, Molex. “The Etho home lighting is truly revolutionary. The homeowner has the flexibility to rearrange lighting based on furniture placement, seasonal ambience or for a holiday celebration in their new net-zero energy efficient home.”

For information please visit

Posted: December 5, 2013
IR’s New HiRel iMOTION™ Motor Drive Module Eliminates Software Development in High Performance Motors

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. — International Rectifier, IR® (NYSE: IRF), a world leader in power management technology, today introduced the IRMCT3UF1, a fully-integrated high-reliability (HiRel) hybrid motor control module enabling digital, sensor-free vector control of permanent magnet motors. Based on IR’s iMOTION™ integrated design platform and its greatly simplified approach to code development, the new module combines digital control, analog interface and power stage, streamlining time-to-market and increasing design flexibility to accommodate drive system changes in high-reliability applications.

“Compared to complex DSP- or microprocessor-based solutions that require position sensors and sophisticated programming, the iMOTION platform simplifies motor control design for aerospace systems,” said Michael Toland, Power Modules product marketing manager of International Rectifier’s HiRel Products. “It is estimated that up to one man-year of motor control system design can be saved eliminating the laborious code development associated with digital motion control,” he added.

The module can be quickly configured to specific applications using the iMOTION ServoDesigner™ tool that facilitates drive parameter modification via memory-mapped registers. The control functions are contained in a powerful, pre-configured Motion Control Engine™ (MCE), and its algorithm accommodates motor parameter variation for compatibility with a variety of brushless DC and permanent magnet AC motors, while creating robust Field Oriented Control.

In contrast to conventional motion control circuits, the new HiRel iMOTION module is a greatly simplified solution featuring high efficiency, reduced size and EMI suppression. It is built into IR’s rugged, high-density plastic ring frame package, and screened to various test methods of MIL-STD-883 for operation in severe environmental conditions. Less than half the size of a discrete solution, the module combines digital controller, memory, external interface, gate drivers, and six power MOSFETs into a eight-square-inch, 2.5-ounce package.

The IRMCT3UF1 provides accurate high performance speed and torque control without commutation or position sensors. Optimized sinusoidal current control enables current startup sequencing and low loss space vector pulse-width modulation (PWM) for smoother startup and minimized torque ripple for maximum motor efficiency.

Part Number Voltage Package Control Loop Computation Time RS232
IRMCT3UF1 28-48V MP-3T 11µS 57.6KBaud

Availability and Pricing

Pricing for the IRMCT3UF1 HiRel iMOTION module is US $995 each in 100-unit quantities. Pricing is subject to change. Consult your local sales representative for sample availability and pricing. This device is subject to U.S. export control laws and regulations.


International Rectifier's iMOTION integrated design platform consists of a development system, mixed-signal analog chip sets and power stages, which when co-designed together, simplify motion control designs and bring energy-efficient, cost-effective solutions to market faster. More details on the iMOTION platform, as well as links to design assistance, are posted on the iMOTION Web page.

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